16.12.21 The Clerk

Clerk’s Notes December 2021

Mark The Clerk

Mark The Clerk

On 2nd December the Assistant Clerk and I attended a splendid function in West Sussex. It was in the same venue in which we were wed and we were there but six days shy of our 15th wedding anniversary. We’ve always been very grateful to the owner of the house because every year he holds similar functions on or around the date of our anniversary; and although we don’t attend every year, whenever we feel like it we can re-live almost exactly our wedding reception in exactly the same place that it was held in 2006. Granted, there are always a lot more people in attendance than was on our original wedding guest list, and I rarely know more than a handful of them, but on the plus side I only have to pay for the Assistant Clerk and myself which represents a saving of about 99%.

Why have I told you this? Well, unbeknown to us, at some point during our 19 hours in West Sussex, the Assistant Clerk had unwittingly been sprinkled with unwelcome little hitchhikers which worked their particular kind of evil spell such that five days later she began to show the symptoms of which we have all become dismally aware. Sure enough, a lateral flow test followed by a drive-through PCR test confirmed the diagnosis and what followed were a few days when even the woman with the constitution of an ox complained of feeling “a bit poorly”. The worst of it was trying to share the house while she self-isolated for 10 days. I had to move into the guest room at the other end of the building, which I’ve not had to do since the days of my previous marital adventure, and we did our best to “keep our distance”. We obviously didn’t do a very good job because on Monday of this week I started to show the symptoms and tested positive and I am now incarcerated until 24th December.

And the point is? Well, it hasn’t affected my Christmas shopping regime because like all blokes, I believe that any time spent Christmas shopping before 1000 hrs on Christmas Eve is time wasted; and if it’s not done by 1200 hrs with me in the pub then I have failed. However, it has wrecked our pre-Christmas family gathering, which in a multi-layered family involves a lot of political considerations, and for the second year on the trot I will be the ghost Grandad of Christmas cancelled. That said, although sharing things with grandchildren via Zoom only is not ideal, those washing capsule adverts that conclude with the phrase “Always keep away from children” have a certain resonance.

But on a serious note, Rachel and I are double jabbed and we have both succumbed to it. Be careful this Christmas and do your best to avoid picking it up because although there is a view that “it’s just like getting a cold and we just need to learn to live with it” it really is a nasty little disease, and I promise you that you really don’t want to feel like I do today if you can avoid it. Moreover, if you do succumb in the next five days, under the current restrictions your Christmas goose will be cooked too.

Future events

Looking ahead, you should have received your Coachmakers’ Christmas Card with the latest event flyer included. To remind you, Livery Dinners and Livery Committee arranged events are advertised by e-mail about six weeks prior to the event date, the Banquet being the exception.

Event adverts that are currently live are:

The Award to Industry Dinner – 20th January 2022

To infinity and beyond – 27th January 2022

Sir Michael Marshall Tribute Evening – 16th February 2022

The Coachmaker Banquet 2022 – 8th June 2022

The success of these events very much hinges on membership participation and if you cast your eyes over the various event reports contained within this edition you will see how much they are enjoyed by those who attend.

Refuelling in the South Atlantic – the astern method

The Coachmakers’ Banquet 2022

In the next edition I shall pick up on the theme of expanding the personal stories of Coachmakers who were connected with the Falklands Task Force in 1982 and I shall start to embellish the detail of what can be expected on the night as the programme for the event is constructed.

Already, in addition to those Coachmakers who have the stamp of the South Atlantic about them, a number of Falklands veterans who were not associated with the Company at the time have been invited to attend as the personal guests of individual Coachmakers. It promises to be an excellent experience so do not hesitate and book your tickets as soon as possible because a significant number of the available seats have already been reserved.

Nautical news

Several of you attended a rather enjoyable evening at HMS PRESIDENT near St Katherine Docks on 6th February 2019, and although the details have not yet been finalised it is hoped that another visit will take place in April next year. For now, Commodore Rob Bellfield, who is based at PRESIDENT, invites you to glance at the most recent Naval Regional Command Eastern England (NRCEE) Newsround that covers news about the Royal Navy in the public eye (RNIPE) and general engagement, both defence and domestic, through a range of events from September to November 2021. Please click here.

City news

News from the City’s Livery Committee can be found here.

Free money

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST)

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) awards scholarship and apprenticeship funding of up to £18,000 to talented and aspiring craftspeople working in a broad range of skills, from farriery and jewellery design, to silversmithing, dry stone walling, glassblowing cheese maturing, sculpture and more. Our next application round is open 10 January – 14 February 2022 and it is looking for more talented applicants – would you be able to help find them?

QEST celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded more than £5 million to 650 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. Craft is defined broadly and applications are welcome from all areas including rural skills, contemporary craft, conservation, luthiery and much more. A directory of all QEST alumni can be seen on the website, along with more details on how to apply – www.qest.org.uk (There are two application rounds each year – in January and July).

‘How To Apply’ sessions are being held on Zoom to give advice and tips on the application process:

Scholarship sessions:

• 12th January 2022 4.00pm London
Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqd-tqTsqGtOoC0WlMvfeNQcKAHcMir0O

• 31st January 2022 4.00pm London
Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0sfu6qqjkoGNJeXcILG0gl1f3OCv0dCSri

Apprenticeship session:

• 20th January 2022 4.00pm London
Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqduGurTMoEtV_9O0l4VJYzRNPdedZ5Xcx

Shiny stuff

If you feel that walking the tightrope of Christmas shopping between the hours of 1000 and 1200 on Christmas Eve is not for you, follow this link to the Goldsmiths’ Christmas Fair.

Almost finally

Can anyone tell me what happened on Sunday in Abu Dhabi?

As Bono said from the pit wall, “I am speechless”.

Since then I have read as many and varied reports and opinion pieces that I have been able to find online, but all I have concluded is that if someone was intent on planning a complete and utter mess of a situation that was designed to upset almost everyone to one degree or another, then what I watched on the television live (for the first time in some months) was it.

I first encountered the 10 year-old Lewis Hamilton at the Clay Pigeon Kart Raceway in Dorset in July 1995. He was already a Zip Kart works driver in the cadet class on an exponential success curve. My son was in his third race meeting as a rookie cadet kart racer, also 10 years-old. The young Lewis and about 10 of his fellow national championship hot shoes were taking part in the July club meeting at Clay Pigeon to dial themselves in for the National Junior Kart Championship meeting that was due to be held there the following month.

All of the Clay Pigeon club karting dads knew about Lewis Hamilton from the karting press but this was the first time that many of us had seen him perform in the flesh and he was utterly astonishing. With two other karting dads I remember standing close to his kart on the dummy grid on race day as he waited to go out for his first race. One of them said: “he’s pretty good”, the other said “yeah”; not necessarily the most detailed analysis but they weren’t wrong.

Today Sir Lewis Hamilton is a seven and NOT an eight-time World F1 Champion but he has more race wins and pole positions than any other F1 driver in history and he is a knight of the realm. I have followed his career since July 1995 and I have rejoiced at all his success and I wish him more in the future, even beyond the mad enclave of F1. His composure on Sunday after the most cruel sporting decision in the history of the world was an example to us all; let’s hope the experience doesn’t hasten his departure from the track before he’s bagged the eighth.

My son? He retired from “driving round in circles”, as he put it, at the age of 16 having picked up a guitar at 13, going on to discover girls and music. He had driving talent but not the hunger but through his own hard work and dedication he is now a successful freelance sound design engineer in the film and gaming industries. He is also married to a delightful lady and between them they have produced two beautiful grandchildren. Not quite the aspiration of a rabidly competitive karting dad but he has made his own decisions in life which I respect and I am very proud of him. And despite what you might think, I love my grandchildren dearly.

And finally

As is customary at this time of year, myself, the Assistant Clerk and all of those creatures who claim to reside at the Old Barn so that they can join in the happy throng converting my money into manure (even the squirrels have got in on the act this year) may I wish you a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year – which I hope is Covid-free.

See you all in 2022

Mark the Clerk